By: Diane Emeott Korzen Contributing Writer
Boca’s Beach & Parks District will likely foot the bill of constructing Boca National Golf Course on the former site of Boca Tecca Country Club.
After contentious meetings with the city of Boca, the district commissioners voted to purse a bond in order to fund a majority of the construction of the new course.
“We want to ensure Boca Raton residents have the best facilities at a reasonable cost. After spending 24 months researching the project, we are eager to move ahead with the Boca National Golf Course, giving Boca Raton residents the destination facility they requested,” District Commissioner Bob Rollins said.
The decision came a few days after the district met with the city council. The two parties could not come up with an agreement about funding for the course. They did agree to continue meeting regularly to discuss initiatives and projects that they overlap on.
“They’re breaking up – but they still want to meet for coffee every 3 months,” quipped resident Barry Tetrault walking out of a contentious 3-hour joint meeting on Boca National Golf Course between the Greater Boca Raton Beach & Park District and Boca City Council on Sept. 12
The next joint meeting is scheduled for Nov. 12 at 5:30 p.m.
After agreeing to fund the golf course itself, the district commission agreed to hire financial firm Ford and Associates to research third-party terms for financing the entire project.
The price of the golf course is what caused the city council pause on ponying up money for Boca National.
The district selected a design submitted by golf course architects Nick Price and Tom Fazio. And with a price tag totaling over $20 million, the council wanted to scale the design back to save money.
But the district didn’t want to budge in its decision to go with the Price/Fazio plan, thus causing an impasse.
The city council proposed taking over plans to design, build and operate an 18-hole course on the Ocean Breeze property on the west side NW 2 Ave. The city’s proposal also included a clubhouse, driving range, maintenance facility and complimentary amenities on the west side, which is city-owned property. The council also stated it was willing to consider designing, constructing and operating amenities on the east side of NW 2 Ave., the District’s side.
Ultimately, the district commissioners opted to keep the project in their house. To select Price/Fazio, the district vetted 17 submissions before choosing this project. It includes an 18-hole course, a 11-hole short course, practice facilities, a learning center and a temporary clubhouse, all of which will be open to the public.
“This facility will revitalize the north end of our city, from Yamato Road, north,” Boca Raton resident Angelo Sands told the commission at the hearing. “We pride ourselves in Boca Raton of being a first-class city. Well, first-class city means you have first-class facilities.”
If the district decides to fund the project with a bond, it will still need approval from the city on the design because the city owns a portion of the land.
Once the project is approved and funding is solidified, the district estimates the project will be completed in about two years. Plans to revamp the defunct Boca Teeca Country Club have been in the works since the district purchased the land in 2018.
In other district news, plans to hike the millage rate up 15 percent were postponed until Oct. 1, after residents turned up to oppose the increase at the budget hearing.